Addressing Thyroid Issues

Woman with Thyroid issues - with pain in her throat - throat ache

Did you know that each year, doctors find that about 1 in 10 people in the USA have some kind of problem with their thyroid. That’s a pretty big number! The weird thing is that even with so many people affected, almost half of all thyroid conditions still aren’t caught by healthcare providers. I know if it was me, I’d want them to find anything wrong as soon as possible.

The Challenge of Diagnosis

People with thyroid issues often feel the same as people with other illnesses. So it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on. That’s why it’s so important to take your time with testing. When symptoms can mean different things, you have to be thorough.

Jumping to conclusions won’t help your patients feel better in the long run. Instead of guessing, we need to carefully check everything. Piece by piece, we’ll solve the puzzle. Only by trying different tests will we find just the right solution. It may seem slow, but it’s the best way to give people the care they deserve.

Types of Thyroid Disorders


Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid gland isn’t active enough. Your thyroid is a small gland at the front of your neck, and it makes hormones that help control a lot of functions in your body. When your thyroid is sluggish and not making enough hormones, it can really zap your energy and slow everything down.

You may feel tired all the time and just lack motivation to do normal things. Your body may also have a harder time losing weight because your metabolism is running slow.


Hyperthyroidism happens when your thyroid is just a little too active. Instead of the normal steady release of hormones, it’s pumping them out faster than it should. So, what kinds of things might you notice?

You may find your clothes feeling looser without trying to lose weight. Your hands might start to shake when they’re still. And the heart could feel like it’s racing even when you’re at rest.

Thyroid Nodules

Did you know the little butterfly-shaped gland in your neck called the thyroid is where iodine gets stored and used to make hormones? Well, sometimes little lumps called “nodules” can grow inside it.

Now, don’t panic – most nodules aren’t anything to worry about. Usually, thyroid nodules don’t cause problems or symptoms, so people don’t even know they have them. But sometimes, during tests for other things, like an ultrasound of the neck, the doctor might spot a lump. That’s how a lot of nodules get discovered – by accident, mostly.

Regular Monitoring

It’s key that the doctors check on the lumps regularly to watch how big they’re getting. They need to keep a close eye to see if any of them could be cancerous. That way, if they do find something’s not right, the doctors can start treatment quickly before the condition gets worse.

Strategies for Improved Detection

  • Get the whole story from your patients. Ask lots of questions about how they’ve been feeling and about their family’s health problems. Their answers can give you clues about thyroid issues.
  • Check them out from head to toe. Give patients a really careful look-see during their physical. You might spot signs of thyroid trouble, like swelling in the neck area.
  • Run the right tests. There are some specific lab tests that can help, like TSH and T4 levels. Those can show if a thyroid problem exists and what kind it could be.
  • Team up with other doctors when needed. The endocrinologists know a lot about thyroid issues. If a case seems tricky, work with them so patients get the right treatment from thyroid experts too.

Patient-Centered Approach to Managing Thyroid Health

Adopting a patient-centered approach to managing thyroid health involves several key aspects:

  • Making a treatment plan just for you – Everyone is different, so your doctor will focus on what’s going on with you. They’ll look at your symptoms, health issues, and the way you live your life to come up with the best plan.
  • Giving you the facts – It’s important that you understand your condition and why treatment matters. That way, you can be an active part of taking care of yourself. Your doctor will explain what’s going on so you know what to expect.
  • Lifestyle is key – The way you live can really affect how well you manage your thyroid. Little things like eating healthy and being active can make a big difference. Your doctor will talk to you about changes that may help, like what you eat and how much exercise you get.
May 2024